Friday, February 14, 2020

Senate Deliberately Delaying Sending Bill Providing Unlimited Subsidies For Using Natural Gas In Manufacturing To Governor

On February 4, the Senate and House took final action on House Bill 1100 (Kaufer-R-Luzerne) which would provide unlimited taxpayer-funded subsidies for natural gas use in manufacturing through a new tax credit.  
Normally, the last step before the bill is sent to the Governor for his action is for the House and Senate to formally sign the bill attesting to the fact it was adopted by both chambers.
In the case of House Bill 1100, however, the bill was signed in the House the same day-- February 4, but the Senate has not yet signed and therefore the bill cannot be sent to the Governor for his action, yet.
There is no doubt Senate Republicans delayed signing the bill so that union and other pressure can be generated against Gov. Wolf to sign the bill.
Gov. Wolf said he plans to veto the bill because he believes these kinds of projects should be evaluated on a specific case-by-case basis.
Before passing House Bill 1100, the Senate amended the bill to cut in half the investment a company would need to make and cut the number of jobs a company would have to create to qualify for the tax credit subsidy.
The Senate also changed the subsidy for the use of natural gas from 5 cents per gallon to 46 cents per unit of MCF (thousand cubic feet) of natural gas.
The bill is part of the House Republican EnergizePA natural gas subsidy package, which also includes legislation to take all environmental permit decision-making authority away from DEP.
Earthworks' Pennsylvania and Ohio Field Advocate Leann Leiter released this statement on House Bill 1100--
“The Pennsylvania General Assembly showed short sightedness and a lack of political courage by voting to give away hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars to expand the oil and gas-fueled petrochemical industry, a costly move that would surely worsen the climate crisis and threaten the health of countless Pennsylvanians.
“The legislators who voted for this fossil fuel tax give-away--many of them from southwestern Pennsylvania where pollution and health problems from the industry are already rampant--have taken a reckless position. 
“By promising blanket tax breaks without specific proposals on the table, they are giving industry a free ride and throwing open the doors to decades of climate and health-harming pollution. 
“An expansion of plastics manufacturing in Appalachia could result in a fate similar to a petrochemical region in Louisiana infamously known as ‘Cancer Alley.’
“Fortunately, Governor Wolf has publicly promised to veto this bill.  Earthworks thanks him, and the legislators who did oppose this unnecessary and dangerous giveaway. We urge legislators to respect and sustain the Governor’s veto and recognize the concerns that many Pennsylvanians have for health, the climate, and their quality of life.”
(Photo: Shell Ethane Plant in Beaver County under construction- Public Source.)
Related Article:
[Posted: February 14, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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